Governor announces new COVID-19 Advisory Board to review testing, contact-tracing technology

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FILE – In this Feb. 25, 2018 file photo, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaks at the National Governor Association 2018 winter meeting in Washington. Arkansas lawmakers have sent the governor legislation banning most abortions 18 weeks into a woman’s pregnancy, a prohibition that could be the strictest in the country. The House on Wednesday, March 13, 2019, gave final approval by an 86-1 vote to the bill, which Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson has said he supports. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (News release) – Governor Asa Hutchinson has created the COVID-19 Technical Advisory Board to review and evaluate new technologies as the state’s public health agencies develop strategies for testing and contact tracing, the governor announced at his daily COVID-19 press briefing today.

“Two of the most critical tools in our ongoing efforts to stop COVID-19 are testing and finding those who have had contact with someone who is sick or who has tested positive,” Governor Hutchinson said today. “The technology for those tasks is changing rapidly. This advisory board will review options to ensure that we are employing the best tools that will allow us to quickly mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.”

Governor Hutchinson appointed Dr. Austin Porter III as chair of the COVID-19 Technical Advisory Board. Dr. Porter is the Deputy Chief Science Officer at the Arkansas Department of Health.

The Governor’s other appointees to the COVID-19 Technical Advisory Board are:

  • Nolan Leatherwood, Interim Chief Information Security Officer, Arkansas Department of Information Systems.
  • Donald McCormick, Epidemiologist, Arkansas Department of Health.
  • Jim Carter, Chief Information Officer, Arkansas Department of Health.
  • Adita Karkera, Deputy State Chief Data Officer, Arkansas Department of Information Systems.
  • Dr. Michael Cima, Chief Epidemiologist and Associate Director for Science, Arkansas Department of Health.
  • Dr. Mandana Rezaeiahari, Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Management, Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
  • Dr. Kevin Sexton, Co-Director of Healthcare Analytics, Institute of Digital Health and Innovation; Associate Chief Clinical Informatics Officer for Innovation, Research, and Entrepreneurship; Assistant Professor, Department of Surgery, Biomedical Informatics and Health Policy Management, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
  • Jennifer Davis, Chief Privacy Officer, Arkansas Department of Information Systems.
  • Anne Santifer, Director, Office of Health Information Technology, Arkansas Department of Health.
  • Kim Gardner, Arkansas Department of Human Services.
  • Clark Cogbill, Arkansas Economic Development Commission, Department of Commerce.

Governor Hutchinson created this advisory board by Executive Order 20-28.

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